The essay film after fact and fiction - Nora M Alter



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The essay film after fact and fiction
Nora M Alter
Paperback / softback
Columbia University Press
UK Publication Date

Nora M. Alter reveals the essay film to be a hybrid genre that fuses the categories of feature, art, and documentary film. Like its literary predecessor, the essay film draws on a variety of forms and approaches; in the process, it fundamentally alters the shape of cinema. The Essay Film After Fact and Fiction locates the genre's origins in early silent cinema and follows its transformation with the advent of sound, its legitimation in the postwar period, and its multifaceted development at the turn of the millennium. In addition to exploring the broader history of the essay film, Alter addresses the innovative ways contemporary artists such as Martha Rosler, Isaac Julien, Harun Farocki, John Akomfrah, and Hito Steyerl have taken up the essay film in their work.

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Nora M. Alter is professor of comparative film and media studies in the School of Theater, Film, and Media Arts at Temple
University. She is author of Vietnam Protest Theatre: The Television War on Stage (1996); Projecting History: German Nonfiction Cinema, 1967-2000 (2002); and Chris Marker (2006). She is also coeditor with Timothy Corrigan of Essays on the Essay Film (Columbia, 2017).

For many years, Nora Alter has been our most brilliant advocate of the essay film as an open genre that floats between documentary, fiction, and the art film. The Essay Film After Fact and Fiction is the first comprehensive survey of this difficult and experimental genre in both its historical context and variable aesthetic manifestations. The depth and complexity of Alter's account of the essay film's critical force and aesthetic innovations will not soon be surpassed.
D. N. Rodowick, Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago

This magisterial study marks a milestone in scholarship on the most intellectually expansive and unpredictable film genre of the last half-century. Global in scope, Alter's book displays the essay film's astonishing richness of forms and functions from its beginnings in the 1920s to contemporary art installations. Both a reliable history and a sharp-eyed investigation, The Essay Film After Fact and Fiction is indispensable for anyone interested in the past and future of nonfiction cinema.
Anton Kaes, University of California, Berkeley

The Essay Film After Fact and Fiction is unfailingly lucid, balanced, and informed. Alter provides generous and illuminating analyses of specific films, filmmakers, and decisive shifts in the arts and media history. Her book is a definitive guide to the multiple modes of production and global contexts of a vital tradition that continues to enrich contemporary culture and nurture critical thought.
Edward Dimendberg, University of California, Irvine

The Essay Film After Fact and Fiction deepens the reader's understanding of the history, aesthetics, and politics of its subject.
Film Quarterly - Josh Guilford

This book is invaluable for its scope and depth; the sheer number of films and filmmakers considered makes it an indispensable resource.

Keyword Index
Experimental films - History and criticism.|Documentary films - History and criticism.
Country of Publication
New York (State)
Number of Pages
xii, 394

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